What is a cyber vulnerability?
A cyber vulnerability is a host or system weakness, such as a missed software update or system misconfiguration, that can be exploited by cybercriminals to compromise IT assets and facilitate an attack path.
Identifying cyber vulnerabilities is one of the most important steps organizations can take to improve and strengthen their overall cyber security.
The difference between vulnerabilities, threats and risks
Many people use the terms vulnerability, threat and risk interchangeably. However, in the world of cybersecurity, these terms have a different and specific meaning.
As noted above, Aa weak pointit's a weakness that a malicious actor can exploit. For example, unpatched software or overly liberal accounts can provide cybercriminals with a gateway to the network and gain a foothold in the IT environment.
ONEdangeris a malicious activity that can exploit a security vulnerability.
ONEdangerthis happens when a cyber threat exploits a vulnerability. It represents the damage that can be caused to an organization as a result of a cyber attack.
7 Common Types of Cyber Vulnerability
When evaluating your company's cybersecurity approach and approach, it's important to realize that cybersecurity vulnerabilities are under the control of the organization, not the cybercriminal. This is one aspect of the cybersecurity landscape that businesses can proactively approach and manage by taking the right actions and implementing the right tools, processes and procedures.
Below, we discuss the seven most common types of cyber vulnerability and how organizations can mitigate them:
1. Bad configurations
Misconfigurations are the biggest threat to both cloud and application security. Since many application security tools require manual configuration, managing and updating the process can be problematic and time-consuming.
In recent years, many publicly reported breaches have started with misconfigured S3 pods used as access points. These disadvantages turn cloud workloads into obvious targets that can be easily detected with a simple web crawler. The lack of perimeter security in the cloud further increases the risk of misconfiguration.
To this end, it is important for organizations to adopt security tools and technologies, automate the configuration process, and reduce the risk of human error in the IT environment.
As companies increasingly use cloud hosting for data storage and data processing, the risk of attacks on their cloud services also increases. Proactive prevention is always better than necessary countermeasures.Learn more about cloud-related vulnerabilities and how to avoid them
2. Insecure API
Another common security problem is insecure application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs provide a digital interface that allows applications or parts of applications to communicate with each other over the Internet or a private network.
APIs are one of the few organizational resources with a public IP address. If not properly and properly secured, they can become an easy target for attackers.
As with misconfiguration,API securityit is a process prone to human error. Although rarely malicious, IT teams often simply ignore the unique security risk this component poses and rely on standard security measures. Providing security awareness training to educate teams on cloud-specific security best practices – such as keeping secrets, key rotation, and IT hygiene during development – is as critical in the cloud as it is in a traditional environment cloud. environment.
3. Outdated or unpatched software
Software vendors periodically release application updates to add new features and functionality or to patch known cyber vulnerabilities. Unpatched or outdated software is often an easy target for sophisticated cybercriminals. As with system misconfiguration, adversaries look for such vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
Although software updates can contain valuable and important security measures, it is the organization's responsibility to keep the network and all endpoints up-to-date.
Unfortunately, because updates to various applications can be released daily and IT teams are usually overworked, it's easy to miss updates and fixes or miss a new release altogether. Failure to update even one computer can have potentially devastating consequences for an organization, creating an attack path for ransomware, malware, and many other security threats.
To help address this issue, organizations should develop and implement a software update and patch prioritization process. Where possible, the team should also automate this activity to keep systems and endpoints as up-to-date and secure as possible.
4. Zero-day vulnerabilities
A zero-day hatchrefers to a vulnerability discovered by a threat actor but unknown to the enterprise and software vendor. The term "zero day" is used because the software vendor was unaware of the vulnerability in their software and had "0" days to work on a security patch or update to fix the problem. Meanwhile, this is a known vulnerability in the attacker's security.
Zero-day attacks are extremely dangerous for companies because they are very difficult to detect. Successfully detecting and mitigating zero-day attacks requires a coordinated defense – including both prevention technology and a robust cyberattack response plan. Organizations can prepare for these hidden and damaging events by implementing themcomprehensive endpoint security solutionwhich combines technologies such as Next Generation Antivirus (NGAV), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Threat Intelligence.
5. Weak or stolen user data
Many users do not create unique and strong passwords for each of their accounts. Reusing or reusing passwords and user IDs creates a new potential avenue for cybercriminals.
Weak user credentials are used more oftenbrute force attackswhen a threat actor tries to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems by systematically trying as many combinations of usernames and guessed passwords as possible. If successful, the actor can log into the system and present themselves as an authorized user. the adversary can use this time to retreat, install backdoors, learn the system for future cyber attacks and of course steal data.
To address this particular cyber vulnerability, organizations must establish and enforce clear policies that require strong, unique passwords and encourage users to change them regularly. Organizations should also consider implementing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) policy that requires more than one form of identification, such as password and fingerprint or password and one-time security token, to authenticate a user.
6. Access control or unauthorized access
Companies often give employees more access and authority than is necessary to perform their duties. This increases identity risks and increases access to adversaries in the event of a data breach.
To solve this problem, organizations must do thisprinciple of least privilege(POLP), a computer security concept and practice that gives users limited access rights depending on the tasks required in their job. POLP ensures that only authorized users whose identities have been verified have the necessary rights to perform tasks on specific systems, applications, data, and other resources.
POLP is widely regarded as one of the most effective practices for strengthening an organization's cybersecurity posture, as it allows organizations to control and monitor network and data access.
7. Misunderstanding the “Shared Liability Model” (i.e. enforcement risks)
Cloud networks work as they sayshared responsibility model.” This means that much of the underlying infrastructure is protected by the cloud service provider. However, the organization is responsible for everything else, including the operating system, apps, and data.
Unfortunately, this point can be misunderstood, leading to the assumption that cloud workloads are fully protected by the cloud provider. As a result, users are unknowingly running public cloud workloads that are not fully protected, meaning attackers can target the operating system and applications to gain access to them.
Organizations adopting or moving to a cloud or hybrid environment should update their cyber security strategy and tools to ensure all risk areas are protected across all environments. Traditional security measures do not provide security in a cloud environment and must be supplemented to provide better protection against cloud-related vulnerabilities and threats.
What is vulnerability management?
Vulnerability managementis an ongoing, systematic process of identifying, assessing, reporting, managing, and resolving vulnerabilities in endpoints, workloads, and systems.
Because organizations potentially have multiple cyber vulnerabilities in their IT environment, a strong vulnerability management program leverages threat intelligence, IT and operations expertise to prioritize risks and address cybersecurity vulnerabilities as the as quickly as possible.
What to look for in a vulnerability management solution
Managing exposure to known cyber vulnerabilities is the primary responsibility of the vulnerability manager. While vulnerability management is more than just running a scanning tool, a high-quality vulnerability detection tool or toolkit can dramatically improve implementation and ensure the continued success of your vulnerability management program.
The market is full of options and solutions, each with premium features. When evaluating a vulnerability management solution, consider the following:
Timeliness is important.If a vulnerability management tool does not detect vulnerabilities early, the tool will not be very useful and will not contribute to overall protection. This is where network scanners often fail. Scanning can take a long time and consume a lot of your organization's valuable bandwidth and produce only outdated information immediately. It is better to choose a solution based on a light agent rather than a network.
The performance impact on the endpoint is critical.Vulnerability scanning service providers increasingly claim to offer agent-based solutions. Unfortunately, most of these agents are so large that they have a dramatic impact on endpoint performance. So when looking for an agent-based tool, look for one with a lightweight agent: one that takes up very little space on the endpoint to minimize the impact on productivity.
Real-time end-to-end visibility is critical.You should be able to see at a glance what is vulnerable. Older vulnerability tools can hinder visibility: network scans take too long to get out-of-date results, bloated agents slow down company productivity, and extensive reports do little to quickly fix vulnerabilities.
Less means more.Organizations no longer need a complex set of security tools and solutions that require highly skilled staff. Instead, many people now rely on a comprehensive vulnerability management platform and other security toolscyber hygiene, endpoint detection and response, device controls, and ultimately protecting your organization from attacks from insecure systems.
CrowdStrike Vulnerability Management
CrowdStrike Falcon® Spotlight™provides an instant, scan-free solution for comprehensive vulnerability assessment, management and prioritization for IT analysts. Built on the CrowdStrike Falcon® platform, it provides easy-to-use reports, dashboards and filters to help IT staff close critical security vulnerabilities.
With Falcon Spotlight, you can see vulnerabilities in your organization's environment and easily prioritize the vulnerabilities that are critical to your business. After prioritizing vulnerabilities and patches, you can use Falcon's built-in integrations to deploy emergency patches, create custom dashboards to track remediation activities, and run remote IT workflows with reports, integrations, and APIs.
The main benefits include:
- Automate vulnerability assessment with the Falcon sensor across all endpoints, both on and off the network
- Improve your response time with real-time visibility into vulnerabilities and cyberthreats in your environment
- Use easy-to-use dashboards to get vulnerability data about your organization or create your own dashboards
- Save valuable time prioritizing with comprehensive exploit and threat analysis
- Bridge the gap between security and IT tools with bespoke vulnerability and patch orchestration data
- Perform emergency patches for critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities with native Falcon integrations
To learn more about how Falcon Spotlight can provide your organization with the relevant and up-to-date information you need to reduce your exposure to cyber attacks without impacting your endpoints, visit our websiteHighlight the product pageand download oursdata paper.